Practicing in Public

September 19, 2018

TODAY’S TOPIC: Keywords: obliquity – velocity – prohibitionmixturegluttony


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Stephen wiped the evidence of his obliquity from his cheek and threw the handkerchief out the car window.

“Martin,” Stephen called to the young chauffeur, “Elizabeth must never know about this.”

“Yes, Sir, but won’t she realize that you have been at the Pink Pony drinking? Won’t she realize that you have been with another woman?”

Stephen blinked a few times, but shadows on shadows still swam in his eyes. He lifted his lapel and inhaled. His head rolled to rest on the back of the seat. “Martin? Take me to my office.”

“Martin?” he asked as the chauffeur turned the key to open the office. “Martin? You’re a good boy. Don’t you have some kind of mixture you can create to make me look a bit more sober before you take me home? The last guy had something he used to give me.”

Martin eased Stephen onto the couch in the inner office. “I think, Sir, that you had better sleep here.” Martin pulled off the man’s shoes and lowered him to a reclining position. He pulled the vintage fleece off the back of the couch and covered the man.

“My wife is going to worry about me. She knows I give in to my gluttony. God, if this were the 1920s, she’d be leading the push for prohibition.”

“Sir, you look drunk and you smell like jasmine perfume. It’s not what your wife wears. How will you explain that to here?”

“How do I explain that I spent the night here?” Stephen closed his eyes and was silent.

Martin sat down at Stephen’s desk. The phone rang and Martin jumped. He looked at caller ID. “Sir? Mr. Kincade? Your phone is ringing. It’s your wife. What should I do?”

Stephen let out a long, loud snore. The ringing stopped. “Shit. I’m not spending the night here while you sleep off your latest drunken, one-night stand. How your wife hasn’t found out is beyond me? Mr. Kincade, your wife is a good woman. She doesn’t deserve this from you.”

Stephen snored in response.

Martin picked up the keys. He locked the office door and headed back to the car. He sat for a moment before inserting the key. Heading up the street in a gently falling snow, Martin headed toward Mr. Kincade’s house. The velocity of an approaching cop car startled him until the cop turned down Main Street. The front porch light was still burning as was the back porch light. Martin pulled the car into the drive and walked into Mr. Kincade’s house.

“Mrs. Kincade? I’m back.”

Mrs. Kincade appeared in the kitchen, a flimsy peach gown outlining her every curve. She touched his cheek. When she held out her hand, Martin dropped the keys into it. “There. That wasn’t so hard now was it.”

She grabbed a bottle of wine and handed it to Martin. Then, she grabbed his free hand and two glasses and glided through the house to the front staircase.

Martin paused.

“What? What’s the matter?”

“Mrs. Kincade? Are you sure of what you are doing?”

Mrs. Kincade descended two stairs and put her finger up to his lips. “Young man, I have never been so sure.” She kissed him gently on the lips and led him up the stairs.

(547 words)

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With the beginning of September 2018, I re-committed to writing my “prompt pages” every day. I’m shooting to write a minimum of 500 words on a prompt.



Maybe using the first 10 minutes of the class period with my high school creative writing students has stuck with me. I find that if I don’t start with these, I feel lost, but when I do, everything else to my writing day seems to flow. My “prompt pages” are written and posted without any editing. It is simply “showing up, butt in the chair, fingers on the keyboard writing.

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